A parent and former president of the Thomas Jefferson High School PTA in Virginia who opposed changes to its admissions policy, later faced charges of defamation and slander after claiming that a supporter of the changes engaged in “grooming behavior,” won a landslide legal victory this week.
Harry Jackson saw a Fairfax County judge on Friday dismiss four counts of libel and slander with prejudice against him. RightDefense.org attorney Marina Medvin in Fairfax District Court represented Jackson.
“I would like to emphasize this point – what makes this case unique is that criminal charges have been brought to suppress free speech. Criminal charges! Not a civil suit, but criminal charges. said Medvin, who was retained on the case only a week ago. “It should never have happened. But a magistrate allowed it to happen – four times. And then a Soros-funded prosecutor allowed an innocent man to be criminally prosecuted for seven months.”
Steve Descano, a Democrat elected in 2019 who is known to be largely funded by Democratic billionaire George Soros, is the prosecutor Medvin was referring to.
Jorge Torrico, a member of the advocacy organization Thomas Jefferson High School Alumni Action Group for Science and Technology, had previously promoted admissions that eliminated standardized test requirements and written recommendations from teachers.
It was after Jackson tweeted his concern in November 2020 over Torrico’s alleged “grooming behavior” that charges were leveled against Jackson.
The school’s admissions policies, which were revised in December, made admission less merit-based and instead viewed by some as “race-based.” The changes, which resulted in a historically diverse class of students, admitted for fall 2021, were also later found by a federal judge to discriminate against Asian Americans.
Thomas Jefferson High School is a magnetic school accessible to students throughout Northern Virginia and has long been ranked among the top public high schools in the nation.
While Descano aimed to drop the charges on Thursday, Medvin instead made it a point to have the charges dismissed.
“I believe this rejection, coupled with the publicity of this case, will hopefully restore public confidence in the First Amendment. Nonetheless, my job is not done. My next project is to take this law off the books. Next stop is Richmond,” she said.
As for Jackson, the outspoken black father who was an Olympic contender and naval intelligence officer, was also a plaintiff in the case. Coalition for TJ v. Fairfax County School Board. He said Newsweek he now sees the end of the “persecution” he has suffered for months.
“It has been a stressful time for me and my family during these months of persecution,” Jackson said. “I feel relieved to be vindicated and it has changed me by strengthening my resolve in my education advocacy.”
Newsweek sought comment from Descano at the Fairfax County District Attorney’s Office.
Also on Friday, a coalition of community members, parents and alumni of the school filed an emergency petition with the Supreme Court to overturn the Fourth Circuit’s stay in the coalition’s lawsuit challenging the process. school admission. Chief Justice John Roberts is responsible for overseeing the Fourth Circuit.
It was at the end of February that US District Judge Claude Hilton ruled in favor of the coalition represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation and ordered a halt to the policy. Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit granted a stay of the district court’s decision, allowing Thomas Jefferson’s admissions process to continue.